Save Money on Europe’s Night Trains – Travel While You Sleep

in Trip Planning

Accommodation and transport can drain the finances of anyone vacationing in Europe. So why not combine the two? Catching some zees on a night train is a great way to consolidate your expenses. It’s got all the advantages of traditional train travel, with accommodation to boot!

Europe’s night trains travel long distances, alighting in the evenings and reaching their destinations the next morning. Popular routes take travelers from Rome to Munich, and from Paris to Berlin. Passengers snooze in sleeping compartments known as sleepers, the more affordable couchettes, or standard seats. It’s worth noting that the first two options will add Euro to your standard fare, but this premium is still less than you’d spend on an average hotel.

Sleepers are the most expensive night train sleeping option. Each compartment has fully reclining seats with a pillow and complete sets of linens. Curtains separating the compartments from the rest of the train offer a little privacy, but unless you buy a single or double compartment you’ll likely be sharing your sleeping space with other travelers. Expect to pay around $50 American dollars for a basic communal sleeper, and up to $150 a night for those double and single compartments.

You’ll lose that little amount of privacy and the linens if you opt for a couchette. However as they’re much cheaper, with prices ranging from $25 to $50 American dollars, they’re popular with backpackers and other frugal tourists.

The extra dollars you’ll spend on a sleeper or couchette gives you some added peace of mind. Conductors will hold your passport and keep a watchful eye over your sleeping quarters while you sleep. They’ll also give you a wake-up call, and coffee and a cookie if you’re lucky, to ensure you don’t miss your stop. Sleepers and couchettes are always in demand, so you’ll need to book your place at least a few days in advance.

Alternatively you can just sleep in your seat. No one’s suggesting it’s comfortable to sit upright, jostled about as the train makes its way through the night, but at least you’re saving money. Just remember that no one else is looking out for you, so take care with your valuables while you slumber. Keep your passport, money and other important documents close to you, ideally in a travel pouch underneath your clothes. You could also loop your backpack underneath your leg to safeguard it from thieves. And remember to set a cell phone alert or travel alarm to ensure you don’t zoom past your destination!

trainWhile night train travelers love to save money, they also appreciate saving time. By traveling while you sleep you don’t waste waking hours getting to your next location. Instead you’ll arrive at your next port relatively rested and ready to see the sights. Your body may start to complain if you spend too many nights on Europe’s trains, but using them sparingly can be a great way to save cash and travel efficiently around the continent.

[Image Source: Andrew Bowdan/Flickr]

Previous post:

Next post: